Addiction and Personality Disorder

Personality is what distinguishes every one of us. It is a group of traits that assist to characterise our ideas, attitudes, feelings, behaviours, and interactions with others. We can operate well in everyday life if we have a sound and healthy personality. It enables us to maintain positive relationships, complete work, pursue our passions, and overcome obstacles in stressful situations. These daily duties become more challenging when a person has a personality disorder (PD).

People with personality disorders have a hard time keeping up with life's expectations, coping with stress, and even forming relationships. These difficulties can cause a lot of pain, sadness, and loneliness. It can often lead to drug and alcohol misuse in persons who are suffering. Co-occurring disorders, often known as "dual diagnosis," arise when a chemical addiction and a personality issue coexist. You could be thinking, "Why them?" if your loved one has these co-occurring disorders.

You may be unsure of what to anticipate or where to seek assistance. You already sense as if you've lost a loved one, as personality disorders and addiction may kind family members feel like strangers at times. To fully comprehend the link between substanceaddiction and personality disorders, as well as how to effectively treat them, it's necessary to first comprehend the nature of each illness.

A personality disorder (PD) is a mental health disease that alters a person's perspective of the world and how they respond to it. A continuous pattern of strange, harmful, or hazardous ideas and behaviours characterises it. It also has a substantial impact on a person's ability to operate. A personality disorder is defined as "an lasting pattern of inner experience and conduct that deviates considerably from the expectations of the individual's culture," according to the fifth (and most recent) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders. Personality disorders are "all-encompassing and rigid," "stable over time," and cause "distress or impairment." Personality disorders can manifest in youth or early adulthood, according to the DSM.

In order to have a personality disorder diagnosis, the following criteria must be there:

  • Significant deficits in self-identity or self-direction, as well as interpersonal functioning, are present.
  • One or more problematic personality characteristic domains or trait aspects must be present.
  • The limitations must be consistent over time and in various contexts.
  • The disabilities must not be viewed as a natural part of growth.
  • Environment, medical condition, or substance addiction cannot be the source of the symptoms.

The DSM-5 lists ten personality disorders that are split into three groups based on the symptoms they cause. Cluster A is characterised by strange and unusual behaviour, such as:

  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder.

Cluster B is linked to unpredictable, highly emotional, and dramatic thoughts and behaviours:

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Histrionic personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder

Cluster B is linked to unpredictable, highly emotional, and dramatic thoughts and behaviours:

  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder

Psychosis is a medical word for mental illness. Psychosis causes you to process the world around you in a different way than other individuals. This can include how you feel, think, and see things. You may be able to see or hear things that others are unable to. Or you may believe things that others do not. It's been described as a "break from reality" by others. Psychosis is described by a variety of terminologies. "Psychotic symptoms," "psychotic episode," or "psychotic experience" are examples. It might be a sign of mental illness or a side effect of some medications.

Personality Disorder and Addiction: What's the Connection?

When a person has a personality problem and is unable to function successfully, they may resort to drugs or alcohol for help. This is known as self-medication, and it can take the form of:

  • Drugs may be used by someone with avoidant personality disorder to mask feelings of social incapacity.
  • Drugs may be used by someone with paranoid personality disorder to escape unfavourable thoughts.
  • To feel better about oneself, a person with borderline personality disorder may utilise medications.

When a person self-medicates for a long time, it might result in drug addiction (formally known as a substance use disorder). When a drug use issue develops, the severity of a personality condition tends to worsen. The disorder's negative effects are also getting worse.

The overlapping areas of the brain responsible for reward, impulse, and emotion regulation are affected by co-occurring drug use and personality disorders. Emotional instability, unpredictable behaviour, and anxiety are all symptoms of a personality disorder. (Many persons with personality disorders are compelled to take drugs in the first place because of this urge.) When drugs and alcohol are added, a person's capacity to regulate impulses, make wise judgments, and manage emotions is further harmed. It becomes considerably more difficult to enrol them in a treatment programme, and the therapy itself becomes much more complicated.

Comorbid Personality Disorders and Addiction Treatment

Personality disorders can be difficult to treat on their own since many people who are affected refuse to admit they have a problem. When therapy or intervention is proposed, they may become confrontational or hostile. As a result, recovery from personality disorders necessitates lengthy psychotherapy sessions. Behavioural therapy can help a person replace negative and detrimental thinking patterns, attitudes, and habits with better ones.


Treatments for co-occurring drug addiction and personality disorders, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), are also quite helpful. An individual's rehabilitation is more likely to be effective when combined with a thorough dual diagnosis treatment plan. The secret to this therapy method, however, is that it attempts to treat both illnesses simultaneously and holistically.

Anyone suffering from personality problems or addiction need integrated therapy. This implies that both illnesses are evaluated and treated at the same time, at the same location and by the same clinical team. Treatment must be tailored to your loved one's specific needs, taking into account their physical, mental, social, emotional, and even legal requirements. It should include the following:

  • Sessions of behavioural treatment.
  • Counselling on a one-on-one basis
  • Therapy in a group setting
  • Therapy with a focus on the family
  • Preventing relapse
  • 12-step meetings and support groups
  • Aftercare assistance that is consistent

Please do not hesitate to call out if you believe or are concerned that a loved one is suffering from a personality problem and a drug or alcohol addiction.

Connect with Abhasa today

As the leadingrehabilitation canters in Mumbai, we aim to help people suffering from drug or substance abuse with the best support and care. We have a wide range of treatment plans and therapies. These align with your distinct requirements for relief and recovery.

So, no matter what kind of addiction you are suffering from, we at Abhasa will ensure 100% holistic healing!